Archive for June, 2011

Motorsports Engineering Innovation in NASCAR History

June 30th, 2011

It’s pretty obvious that NASCAR is filled with marvels of motorsports engineering. But there have been some truly standout moments in NASCAR’s history where motorsports engineering completely changed the game.motorsports engineering in NASCAR

One of those moments came almost 15 years ago, during the 1997 All Star race, when Jeff Gordon took the Hendrick Motorsports Jurassic Park-themed Monte Carlo, affectionately nicknamed ‘T-Rex’, to victory lane. The Hendrick team, led by engineer Rex Stump, had completely re-engineered the beast from the ground up.

With an engineer’s zest for problem solving and design improvement, Stump posed a question to his team that everyone in a motorsports engineering school will hear at some point during their studies: if you could start from scratch, what would you do to make this car better and faster?

The car that Stump and his team designed will go down in history as a technical marvel as it debuted at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 1997 All-Star race, then called The Winston. Although the race was fairly unexciting, with Gordon holding the car back for the first two segments and then unleashing it in the final laps to take the lead, the car itself was something that had never been seen before in NASCAR.

What made it exciting, then and now, to motorsports engineers was that the car was completely legal because most of the changes fell into the gray areas of NASCAR’s rulebook at the time. Everything from the materials the car and its parts were made of to the angle of certain components was evaluated and adjusted if needed. Some changes were minute and some were significant, but when the car went through technical inspection it passed because of Stump’s team’s careful and exact consideration of the rules.

Even NASCAR was impressed by the ingenuity in Stump’s machine, although it forced officials to rewrite the rulebook the next morning. Like many engineering feats, T-Rex was the product of creative thinking combined with technical know-how – what every motorsports engineer hopes to achieve.

Want a motorsports scholarship? Now is the time to apply…

June 24th, 2011

Are you looking for scholarships to help you pay for or reduce the cost of school? It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, whether you’re returning to school in the fall or it’s winter break, now is the time to start looking and apply for scholarships, whether they are motorsports scholarships or just funding a motorsports education.

No matter where you’re going to be attending school, what age you are, or what you’ll be studying, there are scholarships out there that you can qualify for. But many of the scholarships have deadlines far in advance of the semester so that they can go through applications, decide on a winner and prepare paperwork with your college.


The first step in getting a scholarship is doing a search on what’s out there. One of the best places to start is Fastweb, an online scholarship search tool. It’s a great way to see what kinds of scholarships are out there, and what it takes to apply for them. You can also purchase a scholarship book but you want to make sure that it’s up to date with the latest information, like The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2012: Billions of Dollars in Scholarships, Grants and Prizes.


Once you know what kinds of scholarships there are, from essay to application, you’ll want to narrow your search down to your strengths and anything else that makes you unique aside from wanting a motorsports education. Do you go to a church? Do your parents belong to a club or work for a large company? See if those organizations have scholarships available.

Did you grow up farming potatoes? Have you been involved in student government? Are you a skilled photographer? If you’re interested in a motorsports education, you’ve obviously shown some interest in racing. Motorsports scholarships are out there in addition to scholarships targeted towards your other interests and skills. Some include the Ricky Hendrick Scholarship, the Automotive Women’s Alliance Motorsports Scholarship and many more.


Do a google or Fastweb search for terms with your standout points along with ‘scholarship’. There are lots of scholarships out there and, whether they offer a $500 prize or a gift card to, every little bit helps when it comes to paying for college.


Once you identify a few scholarships that you qualify for, it’s time to get to the applications. The strategy that will work the best for most people is to pick less than 10 scholarships and give those the best application you can instead of spreading yourself thin by applying to every scholarship out there.

And the best way to apply? Start. That’s often the hardest part for most people, but it’s the most important. Draft an outline of what you’ll write or do for the scholarship. Then start filling it in slowly. You’ll have a draft of your essay or application. Then, edit it. Then have your parents read it. Then edit it more. Then have a teacher read it. Have everyone you can get look over your application. Very few applicants will do this, so it will improve your application, and chances of getting a scholarship, greatly.


Set aside 15 minutes every day for your scholarship search, and make that happen. If you feel like working longer, and often you will, that’s great. If not, at least you’re creating a habit out of it.

Good luck with your scholarship search as you pursue a motorsports education, whether it is at a motorsports engineering school or otherwise!


Motorsports Careers – Sample Communications Job Description

June 17th, 2011

When you’re preparing for a career in racing, it’s always helpful to know what the real-life requirements are for a variety of different motorsports careers.

Below, you’ll see the actual job description for a communications position at Richmond International Raceway. The position is the Manager of Communications and Creative Services, and not all tracks have this specific position but seeing the requirements for this job can help guide you in your studies and internships for positions like this in racing.

Job Summary:

Works in conjunction with the public relations, consumer marketing and corporate sales departments to oversee all internal creative, including Video Scoring Tower, website, consumer e-mails and fan guide. The Manager of Communications and Creative Services will report directly to the Director of Public Relations.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Manage all aspects of the Video Scoring Tower (VST). Coordinate race weekend production and schedule of VST broadcast with Sprint Vision, ISC IT team and PA Team and oversee operation on race weekend. Duties includes producing and managing content, including graphics, videos and logo treatments, scheduling and placement of ads and public address announcements, gathering sponsor commercials and logos, maintaining an accurate and up to date log on the ISC Sharepoint site of all related activities.
  • Maintain all aspects of Richmond International Raceway website, as well as Media section of website, which includes, but is not limited to placing press releases and related stories on main website, as well as media portion of website, providing audio files for media, maintaining updates of fan hospitality appearances. Also includes management of Richmond International Raceway mobile website.
  • Producing graphic design content for the web site and other collateral materials, including ticket sales and renewal advertisements, photos and logos.
  • Manage the public address log and schedule for race weekend. includes securing all sponsor and sanctioning body announcements, in addition to writing and editing track announcements. The PA log is then incorporated into the overall race weekend Video Scoring Tower broadcast schedule.
  • In addition to race weekend Video Scoring Tower duties, serve as point person on VST utilization for Richmond Raceway Complex and other events throughout the year. Duties include full operation of the tower and producing content for the tower.
  • Manage the production of consumer collateral, including fan guide, race weekend event guides
  • Manage track’s email campaigns, including content and timing.
  • Manage track content posted on the International Speedway Corporation Portal, including press releases, videos, audio, photos and employee profiles.


  • Bachelor’s degree or education/experience equivalency.
  • Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat preferred.
  • Strong background in technical aspects of web and social media.
  • Video and audio editing experience a plus.
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Flexibility and ease with juggling multiple responsibilities.
  • Ability to think creatively.

This description was taken directly from the following link:

UNC Charlotte Motorsports Engineering

June 16th, 2011

Although UNC Charlotte does not offer a full motorsports engineering degree, the North Carolina school offers a motorsports concentration as an addition to the Mechanical Engineering degree program.

If you’re enrolling in the Mechanical Engineering program with a concentration in motorsports, you can expect to take the normal course load of mechanical engineering classes including chemistry, physics, English, math, economics, mechanics and other engineering basics courses in your first two years. As you become an upperclassman, many of your courses include the advanced engineering courses and motorsports technical electives.

The motorsports concentration requires participation in motorsports-specific technical elective courses, which include Automotive Power Plants, Road Vehicle Dynamics, Aerodynamics and many other choices depending on what is offered that semester.

In the fourth year of the Mechanical Engineering degree program, motorsports engineering students are required to participate in a two-semester Motorsports Clinic. The Motorsports Clinic is an intensive automotive/motorsports engineering related project.

In addition to the undergraduate program, UNC Charlotte also offers a BA in the new Sport Marketing and Management program in the Belk Business School. This won’t give you a motorsports engineering education, but a business approach to a motorsports education.

There are also four motorsports engineering competition teams available for students to participate in, and motorsports engineering students are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one. UNC Charlotte’s programs include Formula SAE, SAE Mini-Baja, Legends and Drag Car racing.

If you’re interested in a motorsports job, a motorsports education at UNC Charlotte will provide a great start. According to the school’s website, roughly 10% of NASCAR engineers are graduates of UNC Charlotte. You can view a video overview of the school and its resources here.

Motorsports Engineering and Formula SAE

June 8th, 2011

Are you working to become a motorsports engineer or pursuing a degree in motorsports engineering? Or interested in a career in racing? Then you’ve probably heard of Formula SAE. But do you really know what the program entails? Let’s explore Formula SAE and what it can mean to your motorsports engineering future.

Formula SAE and Motorsports EngineeringFormula SAE is a racecar design competition for students that is organized and run by SAE International (formerly known as the Society for Automotive Engineers). The original concept was that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. But today, the main undertaking is to design, produce, test and race a prototype race car at the annual competition in May.

There are two competitions each year – one in California and one in Michigan. The Michigan competition is the largest and longest running.

Chances are, the school that you are attending already has an existing Formula SAE team. If not, you can form one, but that’s a much more involved topic and will require contacting SAE International directly.

The great thing about joining an existing Formula SAE team is they already have a foundation laid for the organizational structure of the team – they have a faculty adviser, an established workspace and equipment, and upperclassmen that have already participated in a Formula SAE competition.

Both the faculty adviser and the upperclassmen are great resources for you, and should be appreciated and utilized as you begin your Formula SAE journey. They will be valuable both in terms of the competition and in the future, as they clearly have interest in motorsports engineering like you do (and it’s a very small industry!).

Preparation for the competition (designing and building the car) usually begins within the first few weeks of the semester so it’s important to identify the person in charge of the team quickly to sign up and get started. One of the first things the team does is identify potential team members and look for sponsorship. Getting in on the ground floor will expose you to a variety of aspects of motorsports education.

Before you enter into this process, you should also understand the safety risks of participating in the project. You will be exposed to a variety of machinery and tools in addition to the actual race car. Being careful and aware of your surroundings at all times is crucial to the success of the program overall.

Then comes the fun part: motorsports engineering! You design the car from the ground up. Very little on a race car is new, and Formula SAE isn’t the place to develop new technology. Unfortunately, teams do not have the time or budget to come up with technological breakthroughs. But that’s not a bad thing. Designing and building a car from scratch takes a lot more time and effort than it would seem, and it’s more important to understand the basic principles of motorsports engineering than jump directly into automotive technology breakthroughs.

No matter what function, if you are interested in motorsports engineering or a career in racing, you should be taking advantage of one of the few applied motorsports education activities that are available at some schools and participating in Formula SAE. Don’t worry – you’ll enjoy it!

Automotive Women’s Alliance Motorsports Scholarship

June 1st, 2011

The Automotive Women’s Alliance offers a scholarship of varying amounts (although the majority appear to be $2,500) quarterly to female students who show a passion for the automotive industry or are pursuing a motorsports education based on a written application.

While this scholarship isn’t specifically a motorsports scholarship, it certainly can be applied to motorsports education if the committee deems it fit. There is no age limit on the scholarship and it can be applied to any type of program as long as the applicant will be applying her education to the automotive industry.

The application is pretty straightforward. In order to apply, students must fill out the application and provide a college transcript or high school transcript and proof of college enrollment, a cover letter (essay-style), and a resume.

There is no deadline, although the description shows that it is awarded quarterly.

Scholarship winners must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for the year in which they receive the scholarship.

Past scholarship winners have applied their awards to: Colorado School of Mines Mechanical Engineering, Oakland University Human Resource Management, Northwood University Automotive Marketing and Business Management, University of Northwestern Ohio Performance Motorsports and Automotive Management, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology Mechanical Engineering, Eastern Michigan University Graduate School Quality Management, Kettering University Mechanical Engineering and many more.

As you can see, it’s not necessary to be in a motorsports or even automotive technology program to qualify for the scholarship. It’s enough to show interest in the automotive industry and have the intent to apply your education to that field. This is a great way to help fund your motorsports education, even if you’re not attending a motorsports engineering school.

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